Money Pit Mansion

10256816_751180141601575_7804511945051258215_nDeep in the heart of Florida sits a Neoclassical Greek Revival mansion known as the Money Pit, built by a Georgia native, who made his fortune running naval stores and lumber. His business controlled much of the turpentine harvest at the turn of the century when citrus, turpentine, and lumber were Central Florida’s primary industries. The house was completed in 1911 after a 3-year build at the cost of $25,000. The house was considered one of the most ornate mansions in the county and quickly became “the talk of the town.”
At 11,000 square feet, the enormous mansion had plenty of room for the lumber tycoon’s wife and their seven kids. Ornate mahogany columns greeted guests in the foyer along with elaborate plasterwork throughout the downstairs. The entire house was built out of mahogany. With the plaster removed, you can get an idea of the craftsmanship that went into constructing the home.
In 1924, the lumber tycoon and his family traded homes with the vice president of a local bank. The Money Pit was sold in the 1940s and converted into a funeral parlor. It remained a funeral home for almost 20 years before being converted into a meeting hall. Soon after it was sold and turned into apartments.
The property went into foreclosure in 1990 and was in a state of disrepair. Without a buyer, the bank asked the city for a demolition permit. The house was listed for sale for $129,000.
In 1992, a couple offered the bank $90,000 and purchased the home, saving it from impending demolition. The house suffered from an extensive amount of termite damage and would require $225,000 or more in renovations.
The new owners estimated the restoration to take five years. A nonprofit organization was created to help restore the house. The goal was to return the house to its original charm and allow opening it to the public as a historic showcase or wedding venue.
After falling ill, the new owners asked the city to take over the restoration effort. The city felt it would be better if a nonprofit organization established explicitly for the house resumed the restoration. In 1995, a nonprofit was formed and was able to apply for and was awarded several grants through the State of Florida, which allowed the repairs to continue. Over time the board diminished, and in 2005 a new board was created. This board was awarded several state grants, but because of the recession in 2008, no funds were allocated by the state that year, or for the following three years. Now, almost twenty-five years since the restoration began, the house remained unfinished.

The porch extends around three sides of the house.
A right angle staircase, one of the many unique features inside the Money Pit.


A historic interior photo showing the fireplace and columns.


The parlor room in 2016.
The third floor attic space.
A Civil War era Chas M. Stieff square grand piano sits in the parlor.
The plaster has been removed from several walls, mounted on this wall is the original glass fuse box.
Materials for a pending renovation were stored inside the home.
The two-story porch is supported by four plaster columns capped by elaborate Corinthian designs.



16 Replies to “Money Pit Mansion”

  1. Amazing photos. I teach history, not U.S., world.
    I met you in the Community Pool where you indicated you are a new blogger. I help new bloggers at my site. Tips for engaging readers, improving content, and increasing traffic are waiting for you. I brought you the link to my About page, so you can read more about my blog. I also have regular networking opportunities and offer free incentives for subscribing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s where I met you too – the Community Pool on Janice Wald’s blog! So you were a new blogger back then – well congratulations for still being here – a few I tried from that list have since gone. This house is really beautiful but I find it quite eerie and brooding to look at. Like it is waiting for something just like in a horror film!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder if the couple would be open to selling this home for a low price so someone else could take on renovations? It’s actually in fantastic shape for a house that old. Termite, electrical, and plumbing repairs alone would be in the 1 million dollar range. Restoration in total probably about 2 million if you were going to fill the home with some furniture and trinkets from that era. Add in the paint and wood repairs plus more modern amenities. I can’t imagine what the kitchen and grounds look like. Probably another $20,000 to fix any landscaping or pools.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey there! Is there any shot of renting this space for a film shoot? I’m trying to find some more info on this and if anyone could help I’d greatly appreciate it. I’m looking for an abandoned-looking interior space similar to this that would allow filming.



  5. Not bashing but just curious. Are you also trespassing to take these photos for your blog? Or do you get in contact with the city and like get a permit to go on the grounds?


  6. Wow, another really cool article, not just a photo dump like so many other urbex sites.
    About this one I have a question though:
    “No concrete proof has ever been found that the Money Pit is haunted.”
    Has there ever been concrete proof (scientific proof) that any place is haunted?


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